The government has awarded a critical power transmission corridor project connecting raigarh in Chhattisgarh and Pugalur in Tamil Nadu to Power Grid Corporation. This 800KV HVDC line will be 2505 Km Long with 6000Mw capacity. Presently, The Rio Madeira transmission link in Brazil, with an overhead length of 2,385km, is the world's longest power transmission line. China's 2,090km-long Jinping-Sunan transmission link, an 800kV ultra high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission line, is the world's second longest power transmission line. Officials in the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Power Finance Corporation and Power Grid confirmed the development.
They added the decision was based on requests by the southern states that the central government award to Power Grid, the high voltage direct current transmission line connecting Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.
The ministry of power had put up eight transmission contracts with a total investment of Rs 53,000 crore for rate-based global competitive bidding in September.
Later, it decided to allot the largest project of Rs 26,820 crore to the state-owned transmission company and central transmission utility.
The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) had in 2011 ordered the power transmission projects to be awarded through rate-based competitive bids, as was the case with generation projects.
"In the annual power ministers' conference in New Delhi on September 9, the southern states requested the central government to allot the project to Power Grid. Especially Tamil Nadu, which wants this project to come up as soon as possible. It has been insisting on giving the project to Power Grid," said a senior government official.
R Viswanathan, Tamil Nadu's minister for electricity, prohibition and excise, in his speech at the conference, said, "To evacuate the power available with the pithead power stations in Chhattisgarh, work on the line from Chhattisgarh to Tamil Nadu needs to be entrusted to Power Grid, in view of its expertise and implementation capacity."
Government officials said Power Grid was the only company with expertise in such lines.
They cited the recently commissioned Raichur-Solapur transmission line. This 760 kV-460 km line, the first one connecting the southern region with western India, was commissioned this year in February.
Executives at private power companies, however, said there were several companies in India like Alstom, Siemens and Larsen & Toubro which offered high voltage direct current transmission lines. The Adani group, too, has installed a 500 kV (2,000 MW capacity) line from Mundra to Mohindargarh in Gujarat.
Companies in the race for the project are irked at this move. Reliance Power, Tata Power, Sterlite Energy, Lanco and Larsen & Toubro were planning to bid for this project.
Power sector experts said the decision could have been taken due to the size of the project and expertise and implementation capacity of Powergrid.
"Nomination of power transmission projects is against the National Tariff Policy and the Electricity Act, apart from the CERC regulations. Tariff-based bidding was introduced to make the sector cost-efficient and ensure timely delivery. This is a setback to power plants in Odisha and Chhattisgarh and consumers in Tamil Nadu who could have availed cheap power at the earliest," said an executive with a private transmission company.
A senior CEA official said the other seven projects would be allotted through bidding. The cumulative cost of these projects is less than the one awarded to Power Grid.
Power transmission was opened to the private sector in 2010, with the award of the western regional system strengthening project to Reliance Infrastructure and the east-north interconnection line to Sterlite Energy.
Source- Business standard